Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yoga Laughter and 'What it Does'

The impetus to develop Laughter Yoga as a business came from the impressive success of an improvised 5-minute Ice-Breaker Spot she used to turn around a Networking Session that initially had not got off the ground very well. Incentives for Laughter Yoga in Business are increased productivity, trust building, better communication, greater motivation, reduced stress, more goodwill, improved health, and a happier workforce - all leading to increased profitability.
Laughter Yoga is a group body exercise developed by Indian physician, Dr Madan Kataria. It combines eye contact, clapping and childlike playfulness with Yogic breathing - turning fake laughter into real, contagious, health-promoting laughter. As with conventional Yoga, repeated sessions reveal the true benefits.

While merely watching funnies tends to produce positive change by raising people’s mood, we can generate many more benefits by laughing actively. Even fake laughter triggers physiological and psychological benefits identical to real laughter, like stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System to help prevent the body from reacting to stressful thoughts. Therapeutic Laughter Yoga applications aim at
•          providing a positive experience with other people in the group thus reversing the tendency to isolation;
•          increasing self-confidence;
•          promoting emotional balance, recovery and maintenance of well-being;
•          alleviating stress, states of anxiety and depression;
•          raising individual pain threshold.

All you need for a Laughter Yoga session is a group of people willing to laugh, at least one enthusiastic person to lead the group, and a room indoors or, where and when the climate allows it, in the great outdoors.
General recommendations are to wear comfortable, loose clothing and bring water because continuous laughter for about 20 minutes dehydrates.
Mobility is not an issue when sessions are customized to specific requirements.
People experiencing severe health problems, e.g. hernias, high blood pressure, bladder problems [laughter loosens!], after recent surgery etc. are advised to check with their doctor.
Laughter Yoga is not recommended for people with epilepsy or current acute states of mania or schizophrenia. Someone experiencing a severe state of depression is unlikely to care for any joyful activity at the time and won’t feel like participating.
The time for a complete Laughter Yoga session is 40 minutes, including a relaxation period to seal in the good derived from the exercise and ground the person again in everyday routine life. Evaluation and Q&A may follow.

Look out for the opportunity to experience Laughter Yoga in a taster session; this first encounter with Laughter Yoga will help you decide whether it is ‘for you’ before booking a series of laughter sessions or joining one of the  thousands of Laughter Clubs evolving world-wide.

Laughter Yoga Expert Angie Lindenau’s background is in Education, Sales, Social Care Counseling and Psychotherapy. When Arthritis made Yoga practice increasingly more difficult, she discovered Laughter Yoga as an enjoyable alternative to stay fit, moving, and happy. Angie hasn’t looked back since she started facilitating Laughter Workshops to groups of people in community, health and business settings a number of years ago!

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